Slabs are Addictive!

Slab LogoOn Friday, I was reading a bulletin from CQA (the Canadian Quilting Association) which featured an article about helping those in Alberta who have been devastated by massive flooding. Cheryl Arkison (co-author of “Sunday Morning Quilts” is coordinating a project to collect “Slab” blocks. Basically these are 15-1/2″ improvisational blocks made in a single colour.  If you are interested, here’s Chery’s post about her project:
Cheryl has volunteered to assemble the blocks into quilt tops, and has “an army of local longarmers lined up to donate their time”.

Slabs2Having a large stash and lots of scraps, I figured this would be a fun way to spend some time this weekend, while doing a little to help those in Alberta. By late Saturday afternoon, I had 8 blocks ready to send:

Slabs1 I was just going to make a couple, but each time I’d stitch a few pieces together, I’d dive back into my scrap bins to find a few more bits and come across some pieces in another colour family crying out to be made into a block.

I stopped at 8 though, since it was time to get ready to go to the cottage.  I’ll send them to Cheryl tomorrow, when the Post Office is open.

Happy Canada Day!

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Quilty Week

This week I’ve had lots of opportunities to play. I was at a three day quilt retreat at the Nottawasaga Inn this weekend with 39 other quilting friends. It was great! Good food, good company and lots of inspiration.

I managed to finish off one quilt (I just had the binding to do) and complete another quilt top.

Denim and Homespun QuiltThe first one is up-cycled denim and homespun plaids It’s based on a quilt that I saw in a “Quilt It…Today” magazine and I knew I had lots of denim to use and some homespun scraps as well. It took more homespun that I anticipated (I made it bigger than the one in the magazine, so I didn’t have accurate fabric requirements) but since it meant a trip to the fabric store, that’s OK. If I make this again – and I have lots of denim to recycle – I think I’ll use some rectangles as well as squares since I had to baste many of the intersections to ensure that they met correctly.  I hope to sell this quilt and use the proceeds to fund more supplies for Quilts of Valour Quilts (see my website: to see other Quilts of Valour I’ve made).

BW Bento Box


The quilt top is a black and white “Bento Box” style quilt. I had cut the fabric on Thursday, before I left for the retreat, so I was all ready to stitch when I finished the binding on the denim/homespun quilt.  I’m quite pleased with it – the patterned squares seem to float on the plain black and white background!


Monday and Tuesday this week, I was lucky enough to attendHappy Daisy two workshops with Susan Cleveland. The first day, we created a small quilt “Happy Daisies” which uses heavy weight threads to embellish the edges of the daisy applique and also to decorate prairie points.

On Tuesday we learned how to do “Piping Hot Binding”. I was able to completely finish the project to display at “Show and Share” on Tuesday night at the guild meeting (OK, I admit that I added the hand embroidery stitches around the border last night while watching TV).


Tomorrow, I get to go to a quilt show put on by the Mississauga Quilters Guild so I’m looking forward to seeing projects by many of the participants in last weekend’s retreat. On Saturday, I’ve got another workshop, this time sponsored by the small guild I belong to (The Pieceful Night Quilters Guild). This one uses freezer paper piecing to create a quilt with various houses. Paper piecing is my favourite method for making blocks, so I’m looking forward to this workshop.

Fortunately, I have more than one sewing machine, since my newest one decided to up and quit on me. It’s going to be expensive to fix –they tell me it’s the main circuit board that’s blown. It’s also just out of warranty, so I’m not pleased…this is the second time it’s happened so I don’t feel very confident in this machine any more 😦

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Playing with photos in Electric Quilt

Back in September, there was a post on the Electric Quilt blog entitled “EQ7 Image Wortable and Modern Parrot By Dianne Gronfors”  which really inspired me.  Diane had taken a photograph of a parrot, imported it to the image worktable in EQ7, then used one of the distortion features to “explode” the original photo and come up with something brilliant.  I was inspired to use this technique to make a few art quilt pieces.

I took this image of the centre of one of my quilts (a New York Beauty style quilt done in bright batiks), brought it into EQ7, used the photo distortion tools to change it, and printed the result on EQ printable fabric.  I then machine quilted it, hand beaded it and framed it to get this 5″x7″ piece:








A photo that my daughter took a couple of years ago at the Bala Cranberry Festival of a glorious red maple tree overlooking the Moon River became this:








An image dowloaded from the Hubble Telescope site: of the Cat’s Eye Nebula (they do say that space telescope imagery is free for anyone to use) became the piece “Nebula”.  This is so much fun!  I’ve spent hours playing with photos.  Every time I try distorting the same photo, I come up with something different…it’s addicting.  These were done with the “Zoom Wave” distortion, but there are other distortions you can do, too.



I’m currently working on a piece using the “Swirl”  distortion, but I decided to hand quilt this one, so it’s going to take a while.  The original in this case was taken during a walk down Acton Island Road on a clear day in October (rare this fall since we had so much rain).  Nature creates such beautiful colours!

The members of both the quilt guilds I attend (York Heritage Quilters Guild and the Piecful Night Quilters’ Guild) seemed impressed when I took these for “Show and Share”.

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Craft Shows

The East Toronto  Club Arts and Craft Show on Saturday was a great experience.  I met some wonderful people, made some sales, got a feel for the business of crafting and got a lead for another show this weekend that I’ll be participating in.  The “Holiday in the Hood” sale will be at Earl Beatty School, 55 Woodington Ave. near Coxwell and Danforth in Toronto on Friday from 3:30pm to 8pm and Saturday from 9am to 1pm.  There will be a great variety of items at that sale, too!  I’m not sure whether I’ll be ahead after it – I can see a bunch of things I’d like to get for Christmas gifts (and for me)!

My daughter helped me at the East Toronto Rotary sale.  She was a great model for my aprons, and the ones that were the same style as the one she wore sold out.  This was one I made in Chrismas fabrics.  It’s completely reversibe, with the green fabric on  the other side.  At the sale, she wore the one I made for her last Easter.  We didn’t sell that one!  I’ll try to get a couple more made for this weekend.

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O Christmas Tree

Well…I’m still getting used to WordPress.  I ended up overwriting a post I’d created earlier today when I thought I was creating a new one…then when trying to re-create it, I lost it twice – once when I ended up just publishing the photo, then again when I lost the internet connection to wordpress.  Oh, well, here goes again…

The scrappy Christmas Tree Quilt is finished!  I’m just making the label to stitch on the back.  I’ve actually made two tops.  This one has mitered borders, and the other has the piano key/rail fence pieced outer border.  I’ve only quilted the one, so far.  The star and gifts are machine embroidery, and the garland is hand embroidered with gold ribbon floss.

This will be one of the items that I have for sale at the Toronto East Rotary Club Arts and Crafts Sale this Saturday (Nov. 17th) at Eastminster United Church on Danforth Ave. in Toronto.

This week will be busy finishing off projects for the show.  I’m not sure if I’ll have time to finish the second scrappy tree quilt for the show, but if not, I’ll have a new quilt to hang in my hall this Christmas season!

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O Christmas Tree Quilt

O Christmas Tree Quilt

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Last week, I was creating some machine embroidered lace for Christmas ornament covers.  It takes over 2 hours to stitch out each half of the lace.  The machine manufacturers tell you that you can just press a button and leave the machine to do it’s thing.  Wrong!  The thread breaks.  The bobbin runs out.  The thread tangles in the guides.  The hoop can bump something and loose it’s alignment.  You really do have to babysit as the machine does it’s thing.  It’s pretty boring to sit there and watch for hours at a time, so I make sure I have something else to do while I’m waiting to fill a bobbin or re-thread the machine.   This time, I was embellishing  some “Crazy Quilt” Christmas tree blocks to use for more cards.  I got to play with my fancy fibers and made 10 cards!
The lace above will be made into an ornament cover that looks something like this when I finally get around to putting the two halves together (another task for this week):

Today, I’m making labels and tags for various craft show items.

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